Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Art of the Interview

Every year as spring rolls towards the end of the school year, all teachers are doing two things: (1) either praying their contract is renewed, or (2) looking for a job.  For new teachers the task is daunting.  I can surely write that and know the truth in the statement, because here I am, a new teacher, interviewing.  If preparation for interviews and sitting through panels of employers wasn't nerve wracking enough, the fact that there are fewer jobs to go around due to budget cuts is down right scary.  I personally know teachers' whose contracts were not renewed, and now they are vying for the same job all the recent graduates are searching for, and all the other teachers' whose contracts weren't renewed are searching for.  I have been on several interviews this year, and this is what I have learned:

1) Your resume is important, your references are important.  Bring plenty of copies of each.
2) Know your teaching philosophy.  Do you demand obedience from your students?  Do you like peer interaction?  What are your goals in assessment?  I haven't had an interview yet that hasn't had that question.
3) Smile.  Yes it is serious, but the face you show your perspective employer is the face they are picturing in front of their students. 
4) Be up to date on the teaching standards for the grade you are applying for.  How can you teach effectively without knowing what the students are expected to master?
5) This one is my personal advice.  Be genuine.  They can see through a fake person just like you can.  Be genuine about your goals, your personality, and about WHY you want to be a teacher.  I'll give you a hint, if your reason is about you, then you are in the wrong profession.
6) Only apply where you want to teach.  I know that sounds silly, but if you don't like the campus or feel unsafe at the facility, how effective are you going to be in the classroom if you are worrying about other things?

I don't think that I need to go over the standard important things like dress professionally, brush your teeth and hair LOL, so I won't bother.  As I sit here typing this, I am pondering my next interview.  A panel of 9 people who will decide if I am the right fit for their school.  A new teacher with only a year of experience under the belt and that experience through substitute classrooms and intervention rooms.  I do wish everyone the best of luck who is doing the same thing I am and through such tough economic times.  Happy Interviewing! 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Research Proposal Thoughts

       As I embark on my last month of school there are so many things going on.  I am looking at making a move, working, looking for work, and I've made my final decision on my research proposal.  Initially when I started this program, I knew that I wanted my research to focus on creativity in the classroom.  I changed from that to how lack of creativity produces apathy in students, and completely jumped to my current topic dealing with mathematics and intervention on a Tier 3 level.

     I am in the midst of writing a research proposal that focuses on the effects of the position I now hold in a rural East Texas school.  I was brought in as an outside contractor to provide math intervention services for students identified as "struggling" as well as additional intervention for special education students in the 3rd and 4th grade.   My participants come to me for 45 minute increments in a small group setting.  I focus on foundational math concepts such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, and word problems.  This research topic started somewhat because I began utilizing a website called Arcademic SkillBuilders to assess their performance each week in multiplication and division.  I wanted to assess if their accuracy in problem solving was improving and if their response time was improving as well. 
     For my research proposal I am doing an quantitative experimental study involving a control group of students not receiving intervention, and a group of students who will receive the additional intervention.  I hypothesize that the additional mathematical intervention will improve students accuracy and response time on foundational math problems.  My null hypothesis is that the additional intervention will not result in an increase in problem accuracy or an improvement in their response time. 

     For the next few days I will be focusing on gathering my reference articles for my literature review, and writing my introduction draft which is due this upcoming week.